Tired of seeing empty storefronts and closed restaurants that once held locally owned businesses?
There’s a way to stop it, say the organizers of I Buy Plainfield. If you make a concerted effort to patronize independent businesses, not only would some of them still be in open, the village would be reaping the benefits as well.
Benefits such as increased sales tax, increased property tax and more jobs for local residents, said Bob Stone, owner of , who co-founded I Buy Plainfield with Cyndi Fulco, co-owner of .
“How many times have you stopped by Wal-mart, how many times have you eaten at Culver’s, when you could have gone somewhere local instead?” Stone said. “The apathy of the community – they know, but it’s not at the forefront of their thoughts. … It truly does affect the economy.”
I Buy Plainfield’s goal is to keep the idea of buying local in the public consciousness so that local businesses can compete with chain stores, shops in other communities and online businesses, said Tina Estopare, owner of stationery store and the organization’s treasurer.
“What I hope to accomplish, the whole purpose of the group, is to educate the people of Plainfield about what it means to keep funds in town,” Estopare said. “We want to educate them that the meaning of their dollar has importance.”
According to a 2010 U.S. Department of Commerce report, when someone spends a dollar at an independently owned business, 68 cents of it goes into the local economy vs. 43 cents if that same dollar is spent at a national corporation or franchise business.
The commerce department also says a locally owned business will reinvest in the local economy at a 60 percent higher rate than chains and Internet retailers. And for every square foot of space a local business occupies, the local economy gains $179 as compared to $105 for a chain store.
In other words, there is a ripple effect when someone buys a product or service locally, Stone and Estopare said. Here are a few ways how:
- The owner of a store, retail business or restaurant pays sales tax, a percentage of which will go into the village’s general fund.
- A business owner will invest in the building in which he or she is located, not only putting local tradesmen to work but improving the appearance of the village and potentially luring new businesses and out-of-town shoppers.
- The owner of the building in which a business is located pays a higher rate of property tax if the building is occupied, and that money goes into village coffers as well as supports schools, fire districts, park districts, libraries and other local governments.
- If the business owner lives in town, he or she is paying property taxes either via home ownership or through rent.
- The more successful the business, the more employees it will need. Some of those people are going to be local, putting money into their pockets that will purchase goods and services in town and will be paid in property taxes. (The Commerce Department says 75 percent of all new jobs come from small businesses.)
- A local business owner is more likely to purchase the goods and services he or she needs locally, rather than buying in bulk from a supplier that could be several states away.
Estopare said she knows not every item or service can be purchased locally, and that sometimes buying locally will cost a couple of more dollars than were you to go to a chain restaurant or franchise store. It’s not reasonable to expect that residents will spend every dollar in town, she said.
All I Buy Plainfield asks, she said, is that residents keep it in mind before they go shopping or purchase something online.
“These other small independent business owners are my neighbors, friends, my kids’ Little League coaches and fellow PTO members,” said Fulco of RoSal's Pizza in a release on the new group. “They volunteer their time in countless ways to make Plainfield the great place it is to live and raise our families.”